The WBC certainly isn't the All-Star Game atmosphere just about everyone expected, players are met on the field by teammate after teammate after scoring a run, the pitch counts have been a non-factor for the most part, and the final out isn't followed by handshakes and hi-fives, it features hugs and swarms of teammates piling onto each other. The competitiveness, passion and pride is all there. I love it.
Yesterday's USA-Japan game was riveting, especially the final 4 innings. In what other context is it OK for me to hope a Minnesota Twin cures his wildness one inning, followed by a prayer for a strikeout by a Houston Astro the next inning, only to run the emotional gamut the next half inning as Jeter was hit in the back by a pitch (worried), Junior struck out (frustrated), and A-Rod won the game with what sounded like a broken bat single with the bases loaded
(joy!)? I don't think any. Heck, yesterday's game was better than any World Series game we've seen the last 2 years, possibly even further beyond that.
On to Yankee talk. Shawn Chacon has surpassed the expectations that accompanied him from Colorado
"The whole premise of this deal [Chacon for 2 minor leaguers] comes down to, simply, I needed a starter tomorrow."
In other words, Chacon was a fill-in, a sub, a body. Faced with the prospect of handing the ball to yet another minor-league pitcher or asking a slew of relievers to get through a Saturday matinee against the Angels, Cashman instead made what was supposed to be a relative blip of a deal to get Chacon. He was supposed to pitch that one game, maybe hold a place for one of the Yanks' injured starters and then, in all likelihood, get lost in the bullpen.
Chacon's had a stellar spring, running his scoreless inning streak to 8 despite a rough outing:
"It was the worst three-inning shutout I've ever thrown," he [Chacon] said. "It was definitely one of those days where I threw a lot more pitches than I should have. I need to go back to the pen and find that rhythm."
Despite his spring brilliance, his spot in the rotation is far from guaranteed:
Torre will only say that Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina have guaranteed spots in the rotation, with Carl Pavano joining them once his back is at full strength; Chacon, Wang and Jaret Wright are competing for the other two spots, though the Yanks only need four starters for the first few weeks of the season because of several off days.Weekly Poll
: The new question is up, and no real surprise as far as last week's question. More than 47% of you that voting think Chien-Ming Wang is the most likely 20-win candidate, followed by Moose (23.5%), Chacon (20.6%), and last but not least, Carl Pavano (8.8%). Thanks as always for taking the time to vote.